We often define the value of something, including our clean energy investments, through a very limited cost-benefit analysis: What are my expenses related to this new thing, and how much money does it save me directly? But such a narrow analysis doesn’t capture the holistic value of much of anything.
That’s especially true when it comes to solar energy, since the benefits extend far beyond our own homes.
My own first encounter with solar energy came when my neighbor installed a set of panels on his rooftop. Glowing with pride, he told me how the those new panels would pay for themselves in no time at all, given the smaller electricity bills he anticipated.
But it was clear that he was most excited about becoming a solar power producer for a whole set of other reasons. With solar panels churning out power from his roof, he could do his part to combat climate change and reduce harmful air pollution by generating clean renewable energy for his family and sharing any extra with the community.